US 7645251 B2
A quick-release mechanism for disconnecting the footwear and footplate of an orthoses from a rotation bar, 90-degree bar, or other component of an orthosis is disclosed. The mechanism allows the footwear to be fitted to a patient with the bar or other component disengaged, while also allowing the angle between the bar or other component and the footplate to be locked when the orthosis is in place in order to treat conditions such as clubfoot.
1. An orthotic apparatus, comprising:
(a) a brace;
(b) a brace fitting, wherein said brace fitting is rotatably connected to said brace, and wherein said brace fitting comprises an adjusting member operable to selectively lock and unlock rotation of said brace fitting with respect to said brace;
(c) a footplate fitting, wherein said footplate fitting is removably connectable to said brace fitting; and
(d) a tongue-shaped tab portion connected to one of said brace fitting and said footplate fitting, wherein said tab portion is slideably engageable with a tongue-shaped groove portion sized to receive said tab portion on that one of said brace fitting and said footplate fitting not connected to said locking member.
2. The orthotic apparatus of
3. The orthosis of
4. The orthotic apparatus of
5. The orthotic apparatus of
6. The orthotic apparatus of
7. The orthotic apparatus of
8. An orthosis, comprising:
(a) a footplate;
(b) a footplate fitting attached to said footplate, wherein said footplate fitting comprises a tongue-shaped tab portion;
(c) a brace;
(d) a brace attachment plate attached to said brace; and
(e) a brace fitting attached to said brace attachment plate, wherein said brace fitting comprises a tongue-shaped groove portion sized to slideably engage said tab portion whereby said footplate and said brace may be releasably joined together.
9. The orthosis of
10. The orthosis of
11. The orthosis of
12. The orthosis of
13. The orthosis of
This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/719,005, entitled “Orthosis and Shoe Attachment Mechanism for Same,” filed on Sep. 21, 2005. The complete disclosure of such application is hereby incorporated by reference.
Clubfoot (talipes equinovarus) is a general term used to describe a range of unusual positions of the foot. Most types of clubfoot are congenital. The most common treatment for congenital clubfoot utilizes non-surgical casting or splinting, or a combination of both, with the treatment regimen beginning shortly after the patient's birth. The purpose of each step in the treatment is to move the affected foot (or feet, in the case of bilateral treatment) into the most normal position possible, and hold that position until the next treatment. These treatments are generally repeated every 1 to 2 weeks for a period of 2 to 4 months, moving the affected foot a little closer to a desired position each time. After treatment is complete, the patient usually wears a brace for an additional period of time in order to keep the clubfoot from beginning to form again. The type of brace chosen may depend upon the position of the patient's foot prior to casting or splinting, and other factors.
A rotation bar is one commonly used element employed in a clubfoot treatment regimen to either internally or externally rotate the patient's foot and leg. A rotation bar is a transverse bar extending between two special shoes, boots, or other footwear worn by the patient. Footplates are screwed, riveted, or otherwise attached to the soles of each of the shoes, and the bar is connected to the footplates at each end. An adjustable screw is used to hold the bar to each of the footplates. These screws may be loosened manually to adjust the angle of the shoe with respect to the bar. The degree of rotation internally or externally for each foot is thus set by rotating the corresponding footplate with respect to the bar, and then locking the footplate into a statically held position by tightening the screw connecting the bar and footplate. It should be noted that the bar may be a solid bar with various available lengths depending upon the size of the patient, or it may be a lap-over bar that is slotted to allow for adjustment of the separation between the patient's feet.
From the above description of the typical rotation bar it will be understood that, because the patient's shoes are fastened to the footplates by screws, rivets, or the like, the shoes are not intended to be removed from the bar during normal use of the device. Instead, the shoes are generally left attached to the rotation bar while being fitted onto and removed from the patient's feet.
Another common type of brace used in clubfoot treatment is a “90-degree brace.” Like the rotation bar, the 90-degree brace includes a footplate that is screwed or riveted to a shoe, boot, or other footwear, which is then fitted to the patient's foot. The purpose of the 90-degree brace, however, is to hold the patient's foot in a certain position with respect to the corresponding leg rather than the opposing foot. The brace fits under the foot at the footplate, has a 90-degree bend to travel up the back of the calf, and another 90-degree bend to follow under the knee and up the back of the thigh. The brace typically includes a calf and thigh band for attachment. The purpose of a 90-degree brace is to keep the knee and foot bent precisely at 90 degrees, and may be used unilaterally or bilaterally. By having the knee held at a 90-degree bend, the brace prevents the knee from going into extension, and therefore holds the foot and the shoe more effectively in the desired position with respect to the leg orientation. As with the rotation bar, the 90-degree brace generally attaches to the footplate with a screw that may be adjusted to control the angle of rotation between the footplate and brace.
Since the patient using orthotic devices such as the rotation bar and 90-degree brace described above is typically an infant, the brace must be routinely fitted and removed by a parent, guardian, or other adult. This process is complicated by the fact that infants will often resist any efforts to place shoes upon their feet. Because the brace is attached to the shoes at the footplates in such a manner that it may not be easily removed, the shoe is generally fitted with the brace still attached, rendering the process of fitting the shoe or shoes to the infant quite difficult. The person performing the fitting must position the shoe properly with respect to the patient's foot, while simultaneously ensuring that the attached brace does not swing about and injure the infant or the person performing the placement. In the case of a rotation bar, the person performing the fitting must then fit the other foot in the remaining shoe while both safely restraining the infant and positioning the foot and shoe for fitting. In the case of a 90-degree brace, the person performing the fitting must adjust the calf and thigh bands for a comfortable but secure fitting while preventing injury to the infant due to movement of the brace caused by the infant's foot movements. It would be desirable to fit the associated shoe or other footwear to the patient without the brace attached in order to simplify this procedure and reduce the chance of injury to the patient. What is desired then is a method of securely attaching the footwear to the orthosis that would allow the footwear to be easily removed and reattached for fitting of the footwear and orthosis to the patient.
The present invention is directed both to a quick-release footwear attachment mechanism for orthoses and to a complete orthosis that comprises the quick-release attachment mechanism. While two particular types of orthoses are described herein with respect to this snap-lock attachment mechanism, the invention is not so limited, and may be employed with other types of orthoses wherever footwear is attached to a brace or bar mechanism. Furthermore, while the use of orthoses for the treatment of clubfoot is provided herein as an example, the invention is not limited to treatment of this condition, but may be used with respect to orthoses employed for the treatment of various other conditions as well.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide for a mechanism that allows for the disengagement between footwear and a bar or brace of an orthosis to simplify the fitting of the footwear.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide for an easier and safer means of fitting footwear associated with an orthosis to a patient, particularly where the patient is an infant.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide for a quick-release mechanism for the attachment of footwear to an orthosis that allows the angle of the footwear to the orthosis to be adjusted.
These and other features, objects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood from a consideration of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments and appended claims in conjunction with the drawings as described following:
With reference to
Footplate assembly 30 is comprised of footplate 10 and footplate fitting 18. Footplate fitting 18 is preferably attached to footplate 10 by screws, rivets, or the like. These screws, rivets, or like fasteners may also be used to attach footwear 38 (as shown in
Brace assembly 28 is composed of brace attachment plate 12, brace attachment plate set screw 14, brace fitting 20, release button 26, release spring 24, knob 16, and lock ring 22. These various parts are shown disassembled (along with the parts for footplate assembly 30) in
Spring 24 is fitted around the shaft of release button 26 before inserting the shaft of release button 26 through the small opening in the surface of brace fitting 20. Release button 26 is secured in place by screwing the threaded end of the shaft of release button 26 into the tapped hole in the interior of knob 16. Knob 16 is thereby fitted at the opposite side of brace attachment plate 12 from brace fitting 20, being held tight against brace attachment plate 12 by the force of spring 24 biasing the head portion of release button 26 away from brace attachment plate 12. It may be seen then that pulling knob 16 downward and away from brace attachment plate 12 will cause the head of release button 26 to sink into the matching recessed area on the face of the tongue-shaped, grooved portion of brace fitting 20. Releasing knob 16 will cause spring 24 to bias the head of release button 26 back in an upwardly direction, thereby extending the head of release button 26 out of the recessed area on the face of the tongue-shaped grooved portion of brace fitting 20.
Each of the components described above and illustrated in
It may be noted that while the preferred embodiment is described with certain components associated with a brace fitting 20 and others with a footplate fitting 18, the relationship of these components to a brace and footplate could be reversed in alternative embodiments. For example, brace fitting 20 could be connected to footplate 10 as part of footplate assembly 30, and footplate fitting 18 could be connected to brace attachment plate 12 as part of brace assembly 28. As additional examples, the relative arrangement of release button 26 and set screw 14 and the related structure could similarly be reversed in alternative embodiments.
Referring now particularly to
In order to release footplate assembly 30 from brace assembly 28, the operator first pulls downwardly on knob 16 of brace assembly 28. Because release button 26 is threaded into knob 16, this downward force causes the depression of the head portion of release button 26 within the matching recess on brace fitting 20. The operator must pull with sufficient force on knob 16 to overcome the biasing force of spring 24. With release button 26 now disengaged from footplate assembly 30, footplate assembly 30 may be slid free from brace assembly 28 in a manner opposite to that described above for locking these two assemblies together.
Referring now to
In either the case of brace assembly 28 or brace assembly 38, as depicted in
In fitting either the braces of
As already noted, a typical treatment regimen involves the periodic adjustment of the angle of the patient's foot with respect to the opposing foot (in the case of rotation bar 36) or with respect to the patient's leg (in the case of 90-degree bar 40). This is accomplished by first loosening set screw 14 of brace attachment plate 12, and then rotating brace fitting 20 such that the tongue-shaped groove of brace fitting 20 forms the appropriate angle with the attached brace. As a convenience to the practitioner, angle markings are preferably provided on footplate 30 to serve as a guide in this adjustment process, as shown in
The present invention has been described with reference to certain preferred and alternative embodiments that are intended to be exemplary only and not limiting to the full scope of the present invention as set forth in the appended claims.